Laminate Wood Flooring

We're rounding up everything you need to know about this durable flooring option.


Adjectives like easy, versatile, and economical perfectly describe laminate wood flooring. The flooring is easy on the eye, easy to install, easy to clean, and easy to repair should catastrophe strike. Available in natural stone, wood grain, and ceramic tile looks and rendered in an array of colors, textures, and finishes, wood laminate flooring beautifully complements all decorating styles and enhances operations in public, private, and work spaces. And unlike hardwood floors, which are harmed by moisture, laminate floors are well suited for use in basements and other below-grade areas. Click-lock systems allow the affordable flooring to float over existing floors, which makes for simple, efficient installation, and in turn lower labor costs. Get even more bang for your flooring buck by installing wood laminate floors yourself or with the help of a friend.

Laminate Wood Flooring Costs

Laminate floors, which are created by capping layered wood with an embossed or printed design layer and a protective top layer, offer big benefits no matter your budget. Because the flooring is extremely durable, it is a first-rate fit for active abodes occupied by kids, pets, and messy hobbyists and for hardworking and high-traffic spaces, such as entries, mudrooms, great-rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. They simulate the good looks of hardwood, stone, and tile, but without high maintenance concerns or worries of cracking tiles and dirty grout lines. Thanks to their protective finishes, they are impermeable to many types of spills and resistant to fading, stains, dings, and dents. Scratches and shallow dents can be quickly filled with finishing crayons or pencils colored to match each type of laminate wood flooring. Should irreversible damage occur, marred planks or squares can be removed and replaced to return the wood laminate floor to its former glory.

Glorious Wood Options

Wood-grain laminate wood floors offer finely tuned foundations that underscore and establish styles from classic to contemporary within rural farmhouses, suburban split-levels, and urban lofts.

Interlocking hardwood-look laminate planks emulating birch, walnut, maple, hickory, chestnut, oak, mahogany, and imported woods generally measure about 5 to 9 inches wide by 5 feet long; depending on the style, the planks showcase various board shapes in different widths and configurations. Beveled and semibeveled edges give wood laminate flooring real-hardwood dimension. Laminate flooring styles with square edges offer flat-plane surfaces and the least expensive prices.

There is indeed a wood-grain laminate floor for every style and color preference. The planks are available in shades of brown, gray, orange, yellow, red, and tan and in glossy, smooth, and textured finishes. Glossy planks bring refined polish to formal spaces outfitted with elegant furnishings. Smooth-finish boards work well in transitional and traditional rooms that boast a casual feel. Textured boards sporting hand-scraped, distressed, reclaimed, and whitewashed finishes enhance old-world chambers and country quarters. As laminate floors have evolved and gained popularity, manufacturers have begun producing wood laminate flooring styles that are embossed to realistically duplicate the look and feel of real hardwoods.

Laminate Flooring: Tile and Stone Looks

Emulating the appearance and texture of terra-cotta, slate, limestone, travertine, and marble tiles, these laminate wood floors are sold as planks, squares, and tiles with interlocking tongue-and-groove assembly. Some showcase tidily aligned 4x4-inch tile shapes, while others sport checkerboard or random brick or paver-stone patterns. Many styles can be puzzled together to create distinctively patterned floors. Tile and stone laminate floors are available in an array of organic hues and with smooth or textured finishes. Like their hardwood-look counterparts, many of the stone designs bear a remarkable resemblance to their natural-world equivalents.

Tough as nails, laminate tile and stone floors are wonderful choices for kitchens, bathrooms, and sunrooms -- they contribute a lush, earthen look for less money and are nearly care-free when it comes to maintenance.

Laminate Flooring Care and Maintenance

All types of laminate wood flooring -- be it wood-grain or embossed to look like stone or tile -- can be cleaned with regular sweeping, vacuuming with a soft brush attachment, or a dry or damp mop. They require no waxing, polishing, or wet mopping and can be harmed by abrasive cleansers. Use a 3-to-1 water-vinegar mixture to remove grease, juice, or wine stains; dab on fingernail-polish remover to tackle harder-to-remove lipstick, paint, or ground-in crayon stains.

Keep your laminate wood floors in perfect shape by immediately wiping up spills; using mats at your home's entry points to protect floors against wear and tear; and setting furniture legs on felt pads or rubber floor protectors to prevent scratching and dents.

With proper care and cleaning, your laminate floors are likely to endure beautifully (almost in their original state!) for decades to come.

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